Green Finance: Leveraging Investment for Environmental Protection

June 6, 2017 8:30 am — 10:00 am
New York, NY (and webinar)



An ELI Public Seminar

Some political narratives describe the relationship between environmental protection and economic growth as two inherently incompatible goals. As the global community turns its attention from negotiating to implementing international climate agreements, the old story is ceding ground to the realization that the economy must facilitate a transition to sustainability if we are to mitigate and adapt to climate change and reduce other forms of environmental degradation. Moreover, with limited government funding available, private investments offer an opportunity to dramatically increase and leverage funding to address daunting environmental problems. Green financing will play a critical role in the shift to a green economy - one with a triple bottom line that promotes environmental protection, social welfare, and economic prosperity.

Governments, intergovernmental organizations, financial institutions, corporations, and NGOs are examining green financing mechanisms in earnest, and many are working towards their implementation. Financial institutions are enabling investment in green infrastructure, and many have signed on to the Equator Principles, a risk management framework for determining, assessing, and managing environmental and social risk in projects. NGO’s and governments are promoting public policies that encourage investments in sustainability, as well as developing public and private mechanisms to facilitate investments in environmentally beneficial projects, such as the investment apparatus of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Green Climate Fund.

With targets including pollution control, biodiversity protection, and sustainable materials management, as well as investments directly related to decreasing reliance on fossil fuels, the impacts of green financing could reshape the landscape for environmental professions. How can law and policy help inform green financing and vice versa? What barriers are preventing more investment in projects and companies with positive environmental missions? Our interdisciplinary panel presented recent developments in this exciting field.

Michael Gerrard
, Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law (moderator)
Charles E. Di Leva, Visiting Scholar, Environmental Law Institute
John Rousakis, Counsel, O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Douglass Sims, Director of Strategy & Finance, Natural Resources Defense Council’s Center for Market Innovation

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Additional Resources:
Green Bank Network
NY Green Bank
DC Green Bank
Connecticut Green Bank